News : New Helpline for Parents on How to Protect Kids Online
London, UK, Sept 3, 2015 -- A new advice service has been launched to warn parents about online dangers including cyber bullying and grooming.
The service, set up by the NSPCC in partnership with communications firm O2, consists of a new free telephone helpline as well as interactive workshops for workplaces and schools.
It follows recent research which suggested that parents in the South West warn their offspring about talking to strangers and bullying several years before broaching similar issues in the digital world, usually waiting until their children are aged nine.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said: "I welcome this helpline, we know that parents are faced with an awful position here, and any help for them to broach the subject early should be embraced.
"The reality is that by 10 years old some children know more about how to work the internet than their parents, leading to a mismatch.
"But we know that although children may understand Snapchat, Tumblr and WhatsApp more than their guardians they are ill equipped with life experience, and are therefore really vulnerable.
"I am often asked by parents ‘when is the right time to tell my child'. The answer is simple. If they are old enough to have a smart phone, they are old enough to know the risks."
The new partnership will also see O2 'zero-rate' the NSPCC's ChildLine service online, making it free to access help and advice for young people themselves even when they do not have mobile phone credit.
A YouGov survey of more than 2,000 parents this summer found that although 91 per cent of eight year olds use the internet at least once a week, on average parents think children should be at least nine before they broach issues of online safety.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Thousands of young people contact us about issues such as online grooming, cyber bullying, and after viewing sites which encourage eating disorders, self-harm and suicide.
"We need to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to protect themselves."
The new helpline for parents is 0808 800 5002.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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O2 plc has 100% ownership of mobile network operators in three countries - the UK, Germany and Ireland - as well as a mobile Internet portal business. All of these businesses are branded as ''O2''.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a charity campaigning and working in child protection in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2015